9 things you never noticed in the reunion movie 'Return to Mayberry'

Did you notice Don's daughter and Judy Jetson?


In the Eighties, America missed Mayberry. The proof is in the rating. When Return to Mayberry aired in 1986, the special became the most-watched TV movie of the year.

Reunions and reboots can be tricky propositions, but this sequel lived up to its name. It was not merely a reunion of the cast. Director Bob Sweeney had helmed 80 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, while writers Harvey Bullock and Everett Greenbaum were responsible for some of the greatest Mayberry tales such as "The Pickle Story" and "The Mayberry Band." No wonder the formula remained intact.

Let's take a closer look at one of the greatest television reunions!

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1. The original Mayberry had been destroyed.


In the sixties, filming of The Andy Griffith Show took place on the 40 Acres Studio Lot in Culver City, California, the hub for Desilu Production. This is why you can spot familiar Mayberry businesses and streets in other Desilu shows such as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. However, in 1976, the entire facility was demolished. That meant when production began on Return to Mayberry a decade later in 1986, a new Mayberry needed to be constructed. Try to spot the differences. It's particularly noticeable in the closing shot, when Andy and Barney raise the American flag on a street that stretched to the horizon.

2. Judy Jetson was the voice of Aunt Bee.


Frances Bavier had retired from acting following her time on Mayberry, R.F.D. In fact, she had moved to North Carolina — to a small town not far from the fictional Mayberry! Some claim that Bavier did not reprise her role as Aunt Bee in Return to Mayberry for health reasons (she passed away three years later in 1989) while others speculate she was merely not interested. Thus, Aunt Bee does not appear in the reunion movie, though her voice is heard. That is actually Janet Waldo performing as Bee. You know the cartoon legend best as Judy Jetson, Pearl Slaghoople, Penelope Pitstop, Josie the Pussycat and more! She did physically appear in Mayberry, too, in the Andy Griffith Show episode "A Wife for Andy."

3. Karen Knotts, daughter of Don, has a role in the movie.


Karen Knotts continues to carry on the legacy of her father to this day, touring her one-woman comedy show. She also has a small resume of television roles, including early guest spots on Eight Is Enough and One Day at a Time. You can find her in Return to Mayberry as Opie's receptionist!

4. Ron Howard's dad marries Barney and Thelma.


Indeed, Return to Mayberry is a family affair! Rance Howard was no stranger to The Andy Griffith Show, having been around the set often with his sons, Ron (Opie) and Clint (Leon). You probably remember him best as the governor's driver in "Barney and the Governor." He's also driving (a bus) in "Cousin Virgil." Spot him in "A Black Day for Mayberry" and "The Rumor," too!

5. Barney switched to driving a Chevy.


Ford supplied the Mayberry police cruisers in the original series. Sheriff Taylor's squad cars were always Ford Galaxie 500s. Well, after Andy moved to Cleveland (yep, that's the backstory in Return to Mayberry) the town must have switched suppliers. Barney now drives a 1981 Chevy Malibu.

6. It's just the third time Goober and Gomer appear together.


They may be cousins, but they are not as close as it seems when it comes to sharing the screen. Goober (George Lindsey) made his debut in the 1964 episode "Fun Girl." You remember the scene — "Judy! Judy! Judy!" Surprisingly, this is the only time Gomer and Goober appear together on The Andy Griffith Show! "A Visit from Cousin Goober" reunited the two again on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. in 1965. At last, in Return to Mayberry, the cousins are closer than ever, running a gas station together.

7. It was the final TV role in character for George Lindsey.


Speaking of Goober, Return to Mayberry would prove to the television swan song in character for actor George Lindsey. Well, there was one brief reprise in an unlikely place. Nashville Now was a talk show on the Nashville Network in the early Nineties. In 1991, an entire episode was devoted to The Andy Griffith Show, with the stars as guests, as the cast was in town for a reunion. Lindsey, Hal Smith and Betty Lynn slipped into character for a short skit. He would later make a couple of cameos as "himself" on Vicki! and NewsRadio in the 1990s.

8. A certain Taylor child seems to be missing.

 Warner Brothers

Remember this baby? Samuel Taylor? Child of Andy and Helen Taylor? He was first seen in "Andy's Baby," an episode of Mayberry R.F.D. Opie's kid brother would have been around 17 years old in Return to Mayberry. However, no mention is made of the boy, nor is he seen.

9. Some notorious Mayberry criminals went straight.


In "The Christmas Story," early in the episode, Andy and Barney sit and read holiday cards. The Hubachers, a trio of brothers locked up in state prison, send one to the cops. We see a close-up of the card, which reads, "Greetings from state prison." Well, the Hubachers must have reformed after two decades. Look for Hubacker's Hardware Store in Return to Mayberry! They're now businessmen, presumably!

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Eighties_Child 2 months ago
"Reunions and reboots can be tricky propositions, but this sequel lived up to its name."

ARGH! Reading that third word (in this context) is the equivalent of listening to fingernails slowly scratching a chalkboard.

To whomever wrote this piece, PLEASE read and learn: Only a computer/machine can be "rebooted." Television series, movies, intellectual properties, etc., can be "remade," "recreated," "revived," "revamped," "retooled," or "reimagined," but they absolutely cannot be "rebooted" . . . EVER. Please get that straight.

Secondly, even if you had used a word that is actually applicable and which makes sense (such as the simple "remake"), your write-up would still be incorrect, because _Return to Mayberry_ is obviously NOT a "remake" of anything. On the contrary, it is merely a reunion movie *sequel* to a TV series.
morticia77 2 months ago
Stooges are Stooges. All are good, some just better than others. With some of the posts I am reading, they would not have had a cameo appearance in Its a mad mad mad mad world, and that would be sad.
jet 2 months ago
The Reunion wasn't for everybody, but I think there's a deeper issue here. This came out at a time when reunions/revivals were actually something an honest to goodness couch-potato like myself could look forward to. The Bionic Reunion movies, the Hulk TV movies, even the Mission Impossible revival (a personal favorite), they were mostly all done with at least some respect to the source material. Nowadays, someone mentions a "Theatrical Reimagining" or "Remake," and I just have to groan and shudder...lookin' at you "Fall Guy in Name Only.
brenda1983 2 months ago
Am I the only one who is slightly concerned that in both series which featured Ron Howard he had a brother who went missing and was never heard from again?? (Samuel Taylor and, later, Chuck Cunningham.) Seems highly suspicious to me! 😂
BradBeall 2 months ago
When was this on? I dropped everything and came inside at 4:00 to watch this movie. When my wife & I sat down in front of the TV, we were "treated" to 4 color, later episodes, with Jack Burns (ya' know what I mean? Huh? Huh? Huh?) as town deputy. The episodes were the ones when Andy, Aunt Bee and Opie visit Hollywood. Try as I did, I just couldn't find watching this very enjoyable. And Andy didn't even recognize his pretty Hollywood girlfriend as the same girl who tried to burn him bigtime by posing as a college student just a few years prior? Seriously?!?
djfone 2 months ago
I couldn't help but notice how Howard Sprague's (Jack Dodson's) hair went from red to black in the movie. And Howard Morris's overcaffeinated Ernest T. Bass, once again, just had to chew the scenery in his every scene. Was it just me, or did every actor in the movie seem to age about 30-40 years from his/her "Andy Griffith Show" days? In a couple of cases the actors essentially quit working after "Andy" and (well, kind of) let themselves go instead of keeping up LaLa Land appearances.
DanDolgin djfone 2 months ago
I think Howard Sprague's hair was brown. That is the way it looked to me on the color episodes of Andy Griffith, Mayberry RFD, and the reunion movie.
ISLES72 2 months ago
Return to Mayberry was from ‘86 but Howard was still using a 50’s era camera (hung around his neck)
Rhard 2 months ago
So I just watched Return To Mayberry. Did anyone notice how "white" it is?
Rhard Rhard 2 months ago
Oh yea and Barney uses the siren but never uses the red lights.
tlauzau Rhard 2 months ago
So what?
rraypo 2 months ago
Is there still nothing new on who played Mr. Schwamp? After being in 26 uncredited episodes, someone just has to know.
Okiepapaw 2 months ago
I did notice the Mayberry sheriff car was a Chevrolet after it always being a Ford years ago but the real shocker was Andy driving into and around town driving a Chevrolet since I had never seen him drive anything other than a Ford on any tv program.
DanDolgin 2 months ago
I could easily see that the "new" Mayberry looked different. The original Mayberry didn't have a flagpole in the middle of the street. Also the original Mayberry did not have trees growing in the downtown area. Yes there were trees where the residences were located in the original, but not downtown. The architecture of the new Mayberry looked totally different from the original set. The only part that looked the same was the sheriff's office and jail. They could have made it look more like the original.
DanDolgin DanDolgin 2 months ago
The Mayberry in the movie looked much different. It was filmed at a different location because the original set, which was used for Andy Griffith and other Desilu shows was demolished. Even the courthouse looked different in the new Mayberry. It did not have pillars and an overhang on the original set and the inside showed the sheriff's desk facing the door instead of the jail cells. It also showed trees in downtown Mayberry as well as the flagpole. The whole town looked too different to be Mayberry.
jerrbuc 2 months ago
They should have at least explained
The story of Myra Koontzs
JohnBates 2 months ago
It is also the only time Barney and Howard ever had any scenes together. George Lindsey was still appearing on Hee Haw during this time, and was playing Goober there, albeit a slightly different version of the character.
Svenfish 2 months ago
In the TAGS Thelma Lou and Barney never got married. She left Mayberry and got married to someone else. Can anyone enlighten me on this?
JHP Svenfish 2 months ago
Yeah BARN moved to Raleigh to be a gumshoe and Thel and her hubby met BARN at some doofy high school reunion - too bad Barnard Oliver Tibbs

I am referring to a TAGS ep
ETristanBooth Svenfish 2 months ago
Thelma Lou was divorced by the time of this reunion.
Inthe25th 2 months ago
Otis was back and he wasn't getting drunk. He was sober and respectable and still supplied humor to situations.
DanDolgin Inthe25th 2 months ago
Otis must have gone through a complete detox program and reformed from drinking. Otis went in business selling ice cream. The logo on his ice cream truck looked almost the same as the logo on Campbell's soup!
AgingDisgracefully 2 months ago
Wasn't there a rumor that Samuel Taylor ran away with Maris Crane and wasn't really missed?
Jon 2 months ago
Writers Harvey Bullock & Everett Greenbaum had writing partners (R.S. Allen & Jim Fritzell respectively) who died years before this movie was written, so they teamed together to write it.
SJN 2 months ago
Excellent movie, but I do wish they had added a few things:
Apparently, Ken Berry was unable to participate due to his contract with "Mama's Family", but they still should have mentioned him. Andy could have been seen leaving for Sam's place, only to find out Sam had left for vacation.
Andy Jr could have been staying home due to his summer job.
Gomer should have mentioned the service. Maybe, when Gomer was discharged from the Marines 10 years ago, he and Goober bought Wally's service station.
Once again, excellent movie.
DanDolgin SJN 2 months ago
They didn't show Millie Swanson (Arlene Galonka) who ran the Mayberry bakery. Sam eventually married Millie on Mayberry RFD. It's too bad Ken Berry wasn't able to appear in the reunion.
JHP 2 months ago
return to mayberry = three stooges eps with Joe or Curly Joe
CrumblyCrunchies JHP 2 months ago
That's rich. I agree.
DanDolgin JHP 2 months ago
There were actually Curly, Joe, and Curly Joe. Yes they were actually 3 different people. And of course there was also Shemp. Moe, Shemp, and Curly were all brothers is real life.
JHP DanDolgin 2 months ago
agreed but Shemp and Curly had all good eps - curly's eps after his stroke weren't that good

but the "newer" ones with Joe and Curly Joe are a pizza made from peeps
Dumptruckdriver 2 months ago
A good movie thats always welcome to metv. Play it more
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